During his college studies, Willem Sundblad traveled around to plastics manufacturers both large and small to consult with them on how they examine and optimize their production. That's where the idea of Oden Technologies was born.
"I saw the incredible value you can create from eliminating waste and optimizing processing while also seeing the huge gap in technology that's being offered to manufacturers and specifically those in plastics," he said.
Sundblad, 30, is co-founder and CEO of New York-based Oden Technologies, an industrial internet of things business that provides manufacturing data analytics. Through the combination of wireless industrial IoT and proprietary cloud-based analytics into one seamless platform, manufacturers can monitor production in real time from any device.
The mission of Oden Technologies is to help businesses reach "perfect production," making products better, faster, cheaper and with less waste.
Sundblad was born in Sweden. He speaks English, Swedish and French.
His family on his father's side has been in manufacturing for generations, and his father always worked in the industry — either paper and pulp or heavy equipment manufacturing — so he had been visiting factories since he was a child.
He studied industrial engineering and production at Lund University in Sweden and École Centrale Paris in France.
While in school, he started a different company. Things didn't turn out the way he thought they would, but he had important experience along the way.
"I started a company early in engineering school, which was a good idea but not something I was passionate about," he said in his Rising Stars survey. "That's when I learned I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but it has to be something you live and breathe as a passion, so that failure led me to found Oden because here I really have found my passion."
While the current issue he is dealing with is scaling the company while maintaining "nimbleness, communication and hunger of a small company," he said his biggest success has been attracting the team he has at Oden.
Sundblad said he is surprised how much the plastics industry is embracing new technology and "how passionate people are about the products they're making." The technology he is personally interested in is artificial intelligence and how it can help manufacturers make better products.
Oden Technologies Marketing Manager Alexis Drayton, who recommended Sundblad for Rising Stars, has worked with him for the last 18 months.
"Willem has demonstrated an immense passion for creating technology that not only empowers the plastics industry to make better products but also improves the lives of the people who work in the industry," she said in an emailed statement. "When he's not in the office working tirelessly with his employees to create a manufacturing analytics platform that helps customers solve production problems, he is traveling around the country to teach manufacturers of all sizes about how innovation and forward-thinking will improve their operations, attract the top talent and enable them to provide the best quality and service."